Thursday, 27 February 2020

United Kingdom 2020 - James Newman - My Last Breath

Being a British national I kind of feel duty bound to bring you all the latest UK entry for Eurovision every year. But it's becoming increasingly difficult to muster up any enthusiasm for the things we seem to be sending these days. Middle brow, plodding, decent, but, y'know, a little dull.

And what's worse is that this was supposed to be a whole new era of UK Eurovisionism, what with BMG exec producing the song and Radio 1 joining in with the reveal. And while many of the names mentioned in relation to our song were wishful thinking, when I heard that James Newman and Iain James were two of the writing team back on Tuesday night I began to think that we might just be on for something at least half decent.

But it's the hope that kills you.

The best I've heard anybody say about it today is "It's not bad". But not bad brings you bottom quarter of the right hand side of the table. Not bad converts to every nation putting you just outside of the points, leading to the usual tabloid bleats that it's all fixed, and every one hates us because of (add own topical dismay trope here).

It's perfectly well-crafted, beautifully sung, has a painfully hooky - if not slightly cheesy - chorus device, and doesn't feel the compulsion to go on for that bit too long to fill the three minutes, like many of its competitors will. But it's all a little bit beige, and that's precisely what we don't need in this contest any more. We need to give people a reason to pick up the phone, not an excuse not to.

When it debuted on Radio 1 this morning, every single song on either side of its reveal would have been prime contemporary Eurovision fodder. But it stood like a sore thumb of bland amongst a sea of brightness. Massive opportunity missed.

Many commentators are already getting narky that so many UK fans are doing it down. But we've been here so many times, and it rarely ends well. I have never, ever wanted to be proved wrong more than I do with this song. But, y'know, I'm seriously dreading 16th to 24th at best.

I wonder who the BBC are going to ask to sip from the poisoned chalice next year?

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